What Do You Owe In Taxes? Depends Who's Counting
In 2012, the federal tax return deadline is Tuesday, April 17 — so if you haven't already filed your income tax return, you have about one week left to shop around for different options to finish your taxes, or request an extension.
If you're wondering if you're better off filing your federal and state income tax returns through an online tax preparation service, a standard CPA (certified public accountant), or a more elaborate tax specialty firm, you may want to read an article over at Bloomberg Businessweek called "Joel Stein Has Four Accountants."
As he tells Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep, Stein plugged his financial results from 2011 into tax services that ranged from TaxSlayer.com to his father's Staten Island accountant.
One paragraph of Stein's article explains his motives:
"This year I really wanted to find out: What level accountant do I need? Can I do my returns myself using websites that promise to guide me through the process? Can H&R Block handle it? Is my current accountant great? Or would a high-end accountant know all the loopholes and get me so much money back that his fee would be worth it? Would any of them slip me the results of the Academy Awards?"
Stein's tax situation isn't as straightforward as some. The writer's income spiked to around $400,000 last year, he says, thanks to a book deal he signed. And because he often works from his house in Los Angeles, he also has the option of claiming a deduction for his home office — something he got conflicting advice about.